WG Physical oceanography

WG Physical oceanography


Our research area is mainly physical oceanography of coastal waters, sedimentology and interdisciplinary physical-biological research. We are engaged in experimental oceanography, ocean modelling, lagrangian particle tracking simulations, coupled physical-biological models and ocean sediment research. We are also involved in operational oceanography and the use of machine learning for coastal flooding forecasts.



Fields of research and expertise





- research of water mass and sediment dynamics in coastal seas using high resolution numerical models

- numerical forecasting of water mass and sediment dynamics in coastal seas

- analysis of measured oceanographic data and results of numerical models using statistical and machine learning methods

- modelling the dispersal of pollutants in marine environment

- jellyfish population dynamics modelling using Lagrangian Individual Based Models

- marine ecosystem interactions research with coupled physical-biogeochemical models.




- numerical modelling of water mass and sediment dynamics with high resolution numerical models, applied for planning of mariculture, deposition of dredged sediments in navigable waterways, outfalls and dilution of sewage and storm water runoffs

- acquisition, quality control and cleaning of oceanographic measurement data

- application of statistical and machine learning methods to oceanographic measurements and numerical modelling results in forecast of sea-surface elevation

- analysis of time series of oceanographic data in estimates of climatic trends

- providing measurement data and metadata to various international infrastructures that allow users to access this data

- modelling the dispersal of pollutants in marine environment

- in situ data acquisition for marine aplications – measurements of currents, temperature, salinity, Ph, oxygen concetration, turbidity, etc.



Staff members


Dr. Martin Vodopivec, Scientific Associate, Head of WG Physical oceanography


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Dr. Branko Čermelj, Research Counsellor


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Dr. Matjaž Ličer, Scientific Associate


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Dr. Boris Petelin, Research Associate


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Coastal Sea Research – ARRS Research Programme P1-0237




Developing High-Resolution Models for Forecasting Sea Surface Currents and Marine Effluent Dispersion - Copernicus Marine User Engagement
05.07.2023 – 05.01.2025



Cirkulacijski in biogeokemijski model visoke ločljivosti in 20-letna reanaliza primarne produkcije v Jadranu - ARRS Postodctoral Research Project Z7-1884



Erosion in Coastal Seas and Navigable Rivers - ARRS Research Project J2-9444

1.9.2018 - 31.08.2021



Developing a sustainable model for the growth of the "green port" - ARRS Research Project L7-1847

1.7.2019 - 30.06.2022


MED OSMOSIS - Mediterranean governance for Strategic Maritime Surveillance and Safety issues

01.  11. 2019 - 30. 06. 2022



GreenHull – Green technologies for ecological cleaning of the biological incrustation on hulls in the Northern Adriatic Sea

01.03.2020   – 31.5.2022



Sharemed – Sharing and enhancing capabilities to address environmental threads in Mediterranean Sea (new HF radar for measurements of sea-surface currents over the Guls of Trieste 105,000 €).

01.10.2019 – 30.06.2022



SMS - Sensing toxicants in Marine waters makes Sense using biosensors (FP7-OCEAN)

1.8.2013 – 31.8.2017



SeaDataCloud: Further developing the pan-European infrastructure for marine and ocean data management - H2020-INFRAIA-2016-2017



HarmoNIA – Harmonization and Networking for contaminant assessment in the Ionian and Adriatic Seas

1. 2. 2018 - 30. 11. 2019















RUS, Marko, FETTICH, Anja, KRISTAN, Matej, LIČER, Matjaž. HIDRA2 : deep-learning ensemble sea level and storm tide forecasting in the presence of seiches – the case of the northern Adriatic. Geoscientific model development. Jan. 2023, vol. 16, iss. 1, str. 271-288, ilustr. ISSN 1991-959X. https://gmd.copernicus.org/articles/16/271/2023/https://repozitorij.uni-lj.si/IzpisGradiva.php?id=152345, DOI: 10.5194/gmd-16-271-2023.


ĆOSOVIĆ, Vlasta, ŠANJEK, Rahela, HADŽIĆ, Eric, RAKARIĆ, Mihovil, IŠTUK, Željko, ŠUŠMELJ, Kaja, ČERMELJ, Branko, ŽVAB ROŽIČ, Petra. Impact of submarine karst sulfur springs on benthic foraminiferal assemblage in sediment of northern Adriatic Sea. Journal of soils and sediments : protection, risk assessment and remediation. 2023, str. 1-17. ISSN 1439-0108. https://repozitorij.uni-lj.si/IzpisGradiva.php?id=152573, DOI: 10.1007/s11368-023-03614-8.


VODOPIVEC, Martin, ZAIMI, Klodian, PELIZ, Álvaro Judice. The freshwater balance of the Adriatic Seastudy : a sensitivity study. Journal of geophysical research. Oceans. 2022, vol. 127, iss. 11, 1-23 str., ilustr., zvd. ISSN 2169-9275. https://doi.org/10.1029/2022JC018870, DOI: 10.1029/2022JC018870.


LIPIZER, Marina, ČERMELJ, Branko, et al. Trace metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the Eastern Mediterranean sediments : concentration ranges as a tool for quality control of large data collections. Marine pollution bulletin. Dec. 2022, [vol.] 185, str. [1]-19, ilustr., zvd. ISSN 0025-326X. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2022.114181, DOI: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2022.114181.


OREL, Neža, FADEEV, Eduard, KLUN, Katja, LIČER, Matjaž, TINTA, Tinkara, TURK, Valentina. Bacterial indicators are ubiquitous members of pelagic microbiome in anthropogenically impacted coastal ecosystem. Frontiers in microbiology. 2022, vol. 12, str. 1-21, ilustr. ISSN 1664-302X. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmicb.2021.765091/full, DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2021.765091.


KOTNIK, Jože, ŽAGAR, Dušan, NOVAK, Gorazd, LIČER, Matjaž, HORVAT, Milena. Dissolved gaseous mercury (DGM) in the gulf of Trieste, Northern Adriatic Sea. Journal of marine science and engineering. 2022, vol. 10, no. 5, str. 587-1-587-18, ilustr. ISSN 2077-1312. DOI: 10.3390/jmse10050587.


REYES SUÁREZ, Nydia Catalina, TIRELLI, Valentina, URSELLA, Laura, LIČER, Matjaž, CELIO, Massimo, CARDIN, Vanessa. Multi-platform study of the extreme bloom of the barrel jellyfish Rhizostoma pulmo (Cnidaria: Scyphozoa) in the northernmost gulf of the Mediterranean Sea (Gulf of Trieste) in April 2021. Ocean Science. 2022, vol. 18, iss. 5, str. 1321-1337, ilustr. ISSN 1812-0784. https://doi.org/10.5194/os-18-1321-2022, DOI: 10.5194/os-18-1321-2022.


BERGAMASCO, Andrea, CUCCO, Andrea, GUGLIELMO, Letterio, MINUTOLI, R., QUATTROCCHI, G., GUGLIELMO, R., PALUMBO, Franca, PANSERA, Marco, ZAGAMI, Giacomo, VODOPIVEC, Martin, MALEJ, Alenka, GRANATA, A. Observing and modeling long-term persistence of P. noctiluca in coupled complementary marine systems (Southern Tyrrhenian Sea and Messina Strait). Scientific reports. 2022, vol. 12, str. 1-20, ilustr. ISSN 2045-2322. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-022-18832-2, DOI: 10.1038/s41598-022-18832-2.


VODOPIVEC, Martin, KONEČNIK RUZZIER, Maja. Opportunities in identifying and marketing windsport tourism destinations : high-resolution wind analysis. Sustainability. 2022, vol. 14, iss. 24, article no. 142416589, str. 1-23. ISSN 2071-1050. https://doi.org/10.3390/su142416589https://repozitorij.uni-lj.si/IzpisGradiva.php?id=146705, DOI: 10.3390/su142416589.


ŽUST, Lojze, FETTICH, Anja, KRISTAN, Matej, LIČER, Matjaž. HIDRA 1.0 : deep-learning-based ensemble sea level forecasting in the northern Adriatic. Geoscientific model development. Apr. 2021, ISSN 1991-959X, vol. 14, no. 4, str. 2057-2074. https://gmd.copernicus.org/articles/14/2057/2021/, DOI: 10.5194/gmd-14-2057-2021.


QUERIN, Stefano, COSOLI, Simone, GERIN, Riccardo, LAURENT, Célia, MALAČIČ, Vlado, PRISTOV, Neva, POULAIN, Pierre-Marie. Multi-platform, high-resolution study of a complex coastal system : the TOSCA experiment in the Gulf of Trieste. Journal of marine science and engineering, April 2021, ISSN 2077-1312, 2021, vol. 9, no. 5, str. 1-28. https://www.mdpi.com/2077-1312/9/5/469, DOI: 10.3390/jmse9050469.


CHERIF, El Khalil, MOZETIČ, Patricija, FRANCÉ, Janja, FLANDER-PUTRLE, Vesna, FAGANELI PUCER, Jana, VODOPIVEC, Martin. Comparison of in-situ chlorophyll-a time series and sentinel-3 ocean and land color instrument data in Slovenian national waters (Gulf of Trieste, Adriatic Sea). Water. July 2021, vol. 13, iss. 14, str. 1-22, ilustr. ISSN 2073-4441. https://www.mdpi.com/2073-4441/13/14/1903https://repozitorij.uni-lj.si/IzpisGradiva.php?id=135611, DOI: 10.3390/w13141903.


ROVAN, Leja, ZULIANI, Tea, HORVAT, Barbara, KANDUČ, Tjaša, VREČA, Polona, JAMIL, Qasim, ČERMELJ, Branko, BURA-NAKIĆ, Elvira, CUKROV, Neven, ŠTROK, Marko, LOJEN, Sonja. Uranium isotopes as a possible tracer of terrestrial authigenic carbonate. Science of the total environment. 2021, vol. 797, str. 149103-1- 149103-12. ISSN 0048-9697. DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.149103.


RUBINO, Angelo, GAČIĆ, Miroslav, BENSI, Manuel, KOVACEVIC, Vedrana, MALAČIČ, Vlado, MENNA, Milena, NEGRETTI, Maria Eletta, SOMMERIA, Joel, ZANCHETTIN, Davide, BARRETO, Ricardo V., URSELLA, Laura, CARDIN, Vanessa, CIVITARESE, Giuseppe, ORLIĆ, Mirko, PETELIN, Boris, SIENA, Giuseppe. Experimental evidence of long-term oceanic circulation reversals without wind influence in the North Ionian Sea. Scientific reports. 2020, vol. 10, str. 1-9. ISSN 2045-2322. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-57862-6, DOI: 10.1038/s41598-020-57862-6. 5309519


BARTH, Alexander, ALVERA-AZCÁRATE, Aida, LIČER, Matjaž, BECKERS, Jean-Marie. DINCAE 1.0 : a convolutional neural network with error estimates to reconstruct sea surface temperature satellite observations. Geoscientific model development. 2020, vol. 13, iss. 3, str. 1609-1622, ilustr. ISSN 1991-959X. DOI: 10.5194/gmd-13-1609-2020.


ZAVRTANIK, Vitjan, VODOPIVEC, Martin, KRISTAN, Matej. A segmentation-based approach for polyp counting in the wild. Engineering applications of artificial intelligence. [Print ed.]. 2020, vol. 88, str. 1-9, ilustr. ISSN 0952-1976. DOI: 10.1016/j.engappai.2019.103399.


MOLINA JACK, Maria-Eugenia, BAKIU, Rigers, CASTELLI, Ana, ČERMELJ, Branko, FAFANĐEL, Maja, GEORGOPOULOU, Christina, GIORGI, Giordano, IONA, Athanassia, IVANKOVIC, Damir, KRALJ, Martina, PARTESCANO, Elena, ROTINI, Alice, VELIKONJA, Melita, LIPIZER, Marina. Heavy metals in the Adriatic-Ionian Seas : a case study to illustrate the challenges in data management when dealing with regional datasets. Frontiers in marine science. Sep. 2020, vol. 7, article 571365, str. 1-9, ilustr. ISSN 2296-7745. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2020.571365/full, DOI: 10.3389/fmars.2020.571365.


LIČER, Matjaž, ESTIVAL, Solène, REYES-SUAREZ, Catalina, DEPONTE, Davide, FETTICH, Anja. Lagrangian modelling of a person lost at sea during the Adriatic scirocco storm of 29 October 2018. Natural hazards and earth system sciences. 2020, vol. 20, iss. 8, str. 2335-2349, ilustr. ISSN 1561-8633. DOI: 10.5194/nhess-20-2335-2020.


MALAČIČ, Vlado, ŽAGAR, Nedjeljka. Seawater icicles of the Adriatic Sea. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, vol. 100, no. 6, str. 987-994, ISSN 0003-0007, 2019. http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/BAMS-D-18-0118.1, DOI: 10.1175/BAMS-D-18-0118.1.


PETELIN, Boris, KONONENKO, Igor, MALAČIČ, Vlado, KUKAR, Matjaž. Frequent subgraph mining in oceanographic multi-level directed graphs. International journal of geographical information science. 2019, vol. 33, no. 10, str. 1936-1959. ISSN 1365-8816. DOI: 10.1080/13658816.2019.1599124.


KRALJ, Martina, LIPIZER, Marina, ČERMELJ, Branko, CELIO, Massimo, FABBRO, Cinzia, BRUNETTI, Fabio, FRANCÉ, Janja, MOZETIČ, Patricija, GIANI, Michele. Hypoxia and dissolved oxygen trends in the northeastern Adriatic Sea (Gulf of Trieste). Deep-sea research : topical studies in oceanography. part 2. 2019, vol. 164, str. 74-88. ISSN 0967-0645. DOI: 10.1016/j.dsr2.2019.06.002. [


MALAČIČ, Vlado. Wind direction measurements on moored coastal buoys. Journal of atmospheric and oceanic technology, vol. 36, no. 7, str. 1401-1418, ISSN 0739-0572, 2019. https://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/10.1175/JTECH-D-18-0171.1, DOI: 10.1175/JTECH-D-18-0171.1.


GENOV, Tilen, ANGELINI, Valeria, HACE, Ana, PALMISANO, Giuseppe, PETELIN, Boris, MALAČIČ, Vlado, PARI, Sauro, MAZZARIOL, Sandro. Mid-distance re-sighting of a common bottlenose dolphin in the northern Adriatic Sea: insight into regional movement patterns. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. 2016, letn. 96, št. 4, str. 909-914, ilustr. ISSN 0025-3154. http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=10308967&fulltextType=RA&fileId=S0025315415001241, DOI: 10.1017/S0025315415001241.






OGS https://www.ogs.trieste.it/

LEGI Laboratoire des Ecoulements Géophysiques et Industriels  http://www.legi.grenoble-inp.fr/web/?lang=en

ARSO Slovenian Environment Agency  http://www.arso.gov.si/en/

University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Civil and Geodetic Engineering  https://www.en.fgg.uni-lj.si/

University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Maritime Studies and Transport  https://www.fpp.uni-lj.si/en

University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Computer and Information Science  https://www.fri.uni-lj.si/en

Javno podjetje OKOLJE Piran d.o.o. (Public Municipal Enterprize OKOLJE d.o.o.)  https://okoljepiran.si/

Javni zavod za spodbujanje podjetništva in razvojne projekte, Občina Izola (EUSAIR Facility Point, Community of Izola)  https://izola.si/zivljenje-v-izoli/gospodarstvo-in-javna-podjetja/javni-zavod-za-spodbujanje-podjetnistva-in-razvojne-projekte/

Texas A&M University https://www.tamu.edu/

Instituto Dom Luiz, University of Lisbon   https://idl.ciencias.ulisboa.pt/ 



Other activities







In the photos (left to right and top to bottom):


1. Tihomir Makovec (right) and Vlado Malačič (left) on board the research vessel URANIA in February 2014 (photo by URANIA staff). The MSS90 probe was used to measure turbulence in the northern Adriatic. (Photo: archive MBS)

2. The Day of open doors 2018 (Photo: archive MBS)

3. The Day of open doors 2018 (Photo: archive MBS)

4. Raging "bora" at Piran Punta in February 2015 (Photo: Tihomir Makovec)

5. Photo of ice candles from seawater on the railing of a riverside staircase leading to the sea of the Gulf of Piran (Gulf of Trieste, 45.52° N). The picture was taken at 13:00 UTC on 27 February 2018, just two days after a sharp drop in temperatures in the area. The typical dimensions of the fence are 3.9 m in length and 1 m in height, and the diameter of the pipe is 0.05 m. (Photo: Tihomir Makovec). Published in Malačič V. in N. Žagar, 2019. Seawater Icicles of the Adriatic Sea.  Bulletin of American Meteorological Society (BAMS), June 2019, 987-994, https://journals.ametsoc.org/view/journals/bams/100/6/bams-d-18-0118.1.xml

6. Simulation of surface sea currents in moderate "bora" and higher tides using the Delft3D numerical model (Figure: Boris Petelin)

7. The impact force of the waves of a dead wave eroding the shoreline. (Photo: archive MBS)

8. The impact force of the waves of a dead wave eroding the shoreline. (Photo: archive MBS)